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Poster: tangled Date: Apr 6, 2009 2:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Jerry was famous for his customized guitars (and with the disputed ownership after his death, the guitars became famous in their own right): the Wolf, the Tiger, Rosebud, et al. No question they are works of art.

But did any one of them sound better than the goofy-looking Travis Bean he played from '75 to '77? I'm not talking about the relative decline (or not) of Jerry's chops here; I'm talking inasmuch as possible about the guitar itself: purity of tone, sustain, etc.

I've listened to just about every era of Dead, and am not sure I hear a better marriage between instrument and player than during that period. Certainly, the later guitars sound thin in comparison, pretty as they are to look at.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 6, 2009 3:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

I don't know crap about guitars, and I dunno crap about changing playing styles, BUT the big issue that draws me to the early era is the sound of Jerry. Now, if it's the guitar alone, somebody tell me (us). If it's just the way he's playing, okay, let us know that if you do...Or, is it the way he's mixed?

Whatever it is, having heard shows live, from 74 to 82, there is simply no comparison, LIVE or on TAPE (and trust me, I had them all from that period) with the intensity and the raw energy in the sound from 68 compared to these latter era sounds...I don't know what caused it, but it's different...there is no doubt about it.

I understand everyone that says the "jazzy" or "refined" or whatever you call it playing during 73-77 was more technically accomplished, etc., but it just doesn't have the punch that I have come to prefer.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Apr 6, 2009 3:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Of course William Tell is correct, the '61 Gibson SG might have had the best sound...

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Apr 6, 2009 4:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Jerry was playing a Les Paul during your guys favorite year.

besides, you're both clearly wrong. CLEARLY the Strat is the best if we're going by the greatest years which EVERYONE knows are 72-74 and 77. I'm lumping Wolf in as a Starts considering according to what I read the insides were basically a Strat.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 6, 2009 4:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Hey J--as I was saying below, I have no clue how much was the guitar, how much was the techno aspect (Earl's comments), and how much was his own evolution (I think that is most of it), but here is what the guitar site says for my (our) yrs:

"1965: Guild Starfire, used on the 1st Dead albumn.
1966: Same guitar
1967: Guild (summer = 1957 Gibsons Les Paul
1968: Gold-top Les Paul (switches to Gibson during?)
1969: Gibson SG with a Vox Crybaby wah-wah pedal
1970: 1963 Sunburst Strat (switches in May to Gibson)
1971: Sunburst Les Paul"

Jeeezzz...was it really that many? But, does look like Gibson was critical during my fav period...

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Apr 6, 2009 4:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

I think it was the times and his evolution more than the guitar that is grabbing you W.T.

That's cool, I know where you're at and why. I am curious as to what other things you listen to especially live. I know you like Cream and a few of the giants from that era.Heck sometimes I get burned out on the Dead and I listen to most of the whole spectrum ( Of course it never lasts long), I can't imagine listening to only a couple years worh without REALLY getting burned out.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 6, 2009 6:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Hey--you know who I really like is Leo Kottke. I really like Jorma acoustically too. Though I do go for that 60s big guitar sound of the guys we have talked about (but Townsend, Page, Beck don't do as much for me, and yet, the acoustic Won't Get Fooled again on Secret Policeman's Ball is one of my favs of all time, and so is the acoustic sounding Babe I'm Gonna Leave Ya by Jimmy Page et al), I really like acoustic material, and in many ways, the lyrics grab me as well. So, as another example, the Band doing Be Released is another fantastic song...

Over the latter yrs, suppose that's why I am drawn to Byrne, but also Jack White on Jolene, etc.

I guess that comes down to idiosyncratic preference for a combination of songwriting, singing and guitar playing.

Sorry--babbling a bit there...

This post was modified by William Tell on 2009-04-07 01:25:13

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Apr 6, 2009 8:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

"idiosyncratic preference for a combination of songwriting, singing and guitar playing" = look no further than ....

RICHARD THOMPSON

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 7, 2009 7:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Not that Walton's guy again...I just got over that...

JK; have heard something by him--one of the kids had something on a compilation or some such. Will keep an eye out for it.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Apr 7, 2009 2:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean [FOR WT]

Here's a quick way to find out if the same is for you:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11167464

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 7, 2009 4:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean [FOR WT]

Oh--too much! So, have talked to Rob about this, BUT the oldest son, the one that's in the band, has a great deal of Fairpoint Convention! That must be how I knew I knew this guy...small world.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Apr 7, 2009 4:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean [FOR WT]

I love Fairport. Liefe and Liege and Unhalfbricking get a lot of play in my house, and tons of RT solo, with Linda, etc.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 7, 2009 5:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean [FOR WT]

that's "fairport" (I some how always turn it into "fairpoint" AND not sure why).

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Poster: amosearle Date: Apr 7, 2009 5:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

I'm a Kottke fan. I think Icewater is one of my favorite albums of all time.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Apr 7, 2009 8:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

I love Leo Kottke too. I always thought he was just an acoustic guitar virtuoso until I saw him live and realized what a dry humored storyteller he is as well. Reminded me a bit of Garrison Keiller ( although Kottke is funnier imo ) and then I found out they're both from Minnesota. Must be in the water or something.

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Poster: patkelleyPA Date: Apr 6, 2009 2:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

I actually think the opposite. I think the Bean sounded thin and tinny compared to the Doug Irwin guitars. The Irwins had a much rounder, fuller sound in my opinion.

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Poster: billydlions Date: Apr 6, 2009 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

His sound from 1980-1982 using Tiger may have been the best. I also liked the Les Paul from the early years and Wolf (late '77 thru'79) sounded better than the Travis years.

I'm sure his other equipment was very influential as I hated his sound in late '85 which was no where near as distorted as the earlier Tiger years.

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Poster: staggerleib Date: Apr 6, 2009 2:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

The instruments were all interesting in their own right. Jerry supervised the electronics and sound creation as closely as possible.

The thing about the Travis Bean is that it had an aluminum neck. It played differently than anything else at the time. He was constantly on the hunt for something that played the way he wanted it to.

Personally, I love the latter sounds. Thin? I don't think so. He was simply able to make the Rosebud and Tiger make sounds like no other guitars. The Lightning Bolt, which really didn't get a whole lot of play was different in that it was completely custom, and though it looked a bit like the other two, it was not a Doug Irwin. Jerry said that it was the guitar he'd always been looking for. Completely custom.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Apr 6, 2009 3:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Really an apples and oranges question. You have the evolution of the guitars, the evolution of the amps & effects, and finally the evolution, or changing tastes of Garcia himself. Not to mention the changing musical styles.

Got to admit that Jerry got a couple of very hot years out of the TB's he played, there was more than one. It's hard to argue against what the band laid down in 77, but ultimately Garcia found the neck on the TB to be too cold, literally.

Stylistically, Jerry seemed to have the right tool for the job when he needed it. The SG and LP's in the early days, where he was probably effects free and humbuckers were really needed to drive the amps. Especially true since he was stacking Fender Twin Reverbs or Dual Showmans, both very hard to get to break up and feedback.

The cowboy years and Graham Nash's "Alligator" Strat was the right tool for the job at the time. Ultra-clean tone through the stacked Fenders again, even with the gigantic McIntosh 2300 power amp behind them.

The one thing about the Travis Beans is that in '77 Garcia installed a unity gain buffer and effects loop to the input of the guitar. This left him with all kinds of control at hand and exactly what he wanted at the right time. All subsequent guitars were outfitted similarly, allowing him to mount his effects pedals on a board next to his amps.

The later guitars and Casio based MIDI, were all hybrid designs, nothing on the street really to compare them to. IMO though that from 77 on, Garcia became more attached to the use of effects rather than the clean crispy stuff of 72-77. (The wah-wah years.)

Even though Irwin and Cripe delivered great playing guitars to Garcia they were always sent out for retrofitting and rewiring to accommodate the switching, pickup preferences and MIDI controls he preferred.

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Poster: stratocaster Date: Apr 6, 2009 4:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Alot of it depends on whether Garcia was on and if the system was on for that particlular show...he captured his live transparent tone on the custom instruments like the tiger, rosebud and lightning bolt...the big gain sound of the 60s is great, alot more raw, ampy sound...I've always preferred a strat tone, the travis bean had a nice mellow tone, but could never get as nasty or as glassy as the guitars that proceed it...

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Apr 6, 2009 2:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Jer's guitar history

SG.jpg

garciaGibson.jpg

Guild.jpg

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Poster: sugar_shack Date: Apr 6, 2009 3:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Nice touch Monte. I agree with Tell that the power was there, but there was more to it in '68. You could really feel that Garcia was pushing it to the limit and loving every minute of it. Some of the runs that he dropped on crowds were absolutely astounding. I get the chills hearing the recordings. There was an edge, and he was standing on it with only his big toe touching.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 6, 2009 3:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Yeah--"edge" is a nice term for it...but here's the thing: a couple of accomplished lead players I knew/worked with in the 70s agree with this assessment, BUT they go to great pains to argue with me about the technical abilities that Jerry showed in 73 (that is the year these guys pick as best, not unlike many of the folks hereabouts).

So, I am willing to concede that there was something more complex, more refined, more technically accomplished about his playing in the 70s, but if you'll allow me, it might be like saying he learned to play classical guitar or some such...I know that's not what happened, and I still loved his playing then (just so JOTS knows), BUT the energy/edge/whatever knocks my socks off from the early era.

Just listening to the speed with which he delievers notes, the intensity of the sound, the unreal sounds he produces during the OOne from 12-29 was something he just didn't do during the yrs I heard him live...oh well. He was still great.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Apr 7, 2009 7:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

We touched on this briefly a few weeks ago and I want to second what you're saying about Jerry's sound in the early/primal years (especially your beloved 1968, when his playing seemed at its most ferocious and nastiest) having more "punch". Whether it was the guitars, Jerry, the mix,the brand of acid, the atmosphere of the venues...WHATEVER it was...the visceral wallop he delivered in this period is unmatched. It seemed somewhat diluted as early as mid-'69 and was all but gone by 1971 (certainly by 1972), replaced with the jazzier style I think more people probably think of as the "classic" Garcia sound (if there is such a thing).

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Poster: GennyBenni Date: Apr 7, 2009 9:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Nastiness, exhibit A: any version of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" from 1968

Garcia was definitely a nasty freak in 1968. But I don't think that his change in voice/style was any sort of conscious decision. Listening on a month-by-month basis (whenever possible) you can hear the evolution of his sound and it's very natural - there was never any abrupt change in style towards jazz, at least in my opinion.

For a while, I listened almost exclusively to 1968 like Will Tell, because of the energy. They are just so insane that year, it's hard to stop listening to it. It's almost like 1968 is candy, everything from that era just tastes so damn good. Luckily I was drawn to other years, often by single songs - like I started really digging 73-74 eyes, or 72 half steps, or 77 morning dews, and after some time I started listening to those years as much as 68. Now my time is split pretty evenly among years from the 60s and 70s.

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Poster: sugar_shack Date: Apr 7, 2009 10:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Does anybody else think that certain, I don't know what, was a by product of Pigpen being around and in good health? Pig was the guy that brought the grease, and it seems logical that as he moved on and out, Jerry mellowed greatly.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 7, 2009 4:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

It is certainly possible that somehow, in some SF Cosmic Consciousness sense, PP was a major force in Jerry's life...Interesting. Love how the boys put in the effort with Mr Charlie--listening to RTs, 8-6, right now, and they clearly have fun interacting with Ron.

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Poster: He Live's Date: Apr 6, 2009 9:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: BOBBY WEIR and the Travis Bean Pole

GaaaahhhhD! this is a Bean Post MAN! get "on point". you are such a "DEAD" head..... sheesh!

Photobucket


more to the point.... what WAS wrong with bobby?

This post was modified by He Live's on 2009-04-07 04:17:03

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Poster: TJB1510 Date: Oct 6, 2014 6:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: BOBBY WEIR and the Travis Bean Pole

Yaa Mon....That's My Shot
(ENGLISHTOWN RACEWAY)
September 3, 1977
Terry Barrett

Attachment: JERRY_and_BOBBY____Englishtown__TJB.jpg
Attachment: Grateful_Dead_Englishtown__Weir_and_Lesh.jpg
Attachment: Grateful_Dead_Englishtown__Garcia_and_Weir.jpg

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Apr 7, 2009 9:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: H-L, here's the Travis Beans for you

okay H-L, you got me

1975 - Travis Bean TB 1000A
jg.jpg
1976- Travis Bean TB500 w/single-coil pickups and fx loop
TB.jpg

I'm not a musician or guitarist. I just know what sounds good to me, and what I like. I am selfishly hooked on 1973. That was my year for attending many shows and taping several of them. June 9 and June 10, 1973 is the best sound I ever heard come out of a PA system. The AUDs for any show will tell you what you need to know. Jer's playing, for me, includes him playing w/ the boys, and how the PA sounded. Only then do I consider the matter.

Like most of you, I discovered all the music collections around the net and started to collect some. I am still trying to find a better live sound than June 9 and 10, but I cannot. The tone is amazing - especially the fat, thick sound of Jer's guitar. And Phil sounds incredible! Sure, I've heard many, many recordings where the boys play much better, and where the recordings are better quality.

btw, Thanks to the incredible arrangements made by the boys for the extended versions of Sugaree. THIS is the only reason I've ever listened to anything past 1973. It took me a long time. I know I'm a moron about this. I was very lucky to have heard a recording of June 21, 1980 Sugaree in Anchorage. It blew me away. Of course, Oct 17, 1983 Sugaree in Lake Placid is hard to believe for me. That whole show is a mind-blower! But I still don't listen much beyond 1973, or that much before that.

I finally discovered that shows in later 1972 are essentially 1973-type shows, but the boys are much fresher and more energetic. Just listen to the Santa Barbara run in Aug '72, and the show in Veneta, OR on Aug 27. If you love 1973, get these shows. Now that I opened my own mind, when I came across Bear's cassette recording of Feb 7, 1969, I listened to it real quick. It blew me away. Just listen to the first 60 seconds of Dark Star.

Well, guess what? 1968 is where they peaked out for what is recorded on Bear's 1969 cassette. That's why I think WT and Cliff have such a huge point to make. I understand it this way.

Mr Dillons, I have that May 24, 1984 JGB show you mention. Thanks.

patourkid, what more can you tell us about your friend and his Watkins Glen collection? I think many of us may be interested in knowing what's out there...

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Apr 13, 2009 9:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: H-L, here's the Travis Beans for you

jer - 1976-June-01 w/ Travis Bean

Attachment: 19760601_1786.jpg

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Poster: amosearle Date: Apr 7, 2009 5:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: BOBBY WEIR and the Travis Bean Pole

He's dressed for his guest appearance on Miami Vice after the show...

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Poster: billydlions Date: Apr 6, 2009 2:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Monte,

Did you ever d/l the Sugaree from 5-20-84 (JGB)? I've yet to hear a better version by either GD or JGB.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Apr 7, 2009 4:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

the issues that significantly affect sound are pickup design, pickup placement, amplification, speakers and of course, effect devices

Jer chose JBL speakers for their clarity, as opposed to Celestion for example, which are designed to "breakup" (distort) at lower volumes

Fender tube amps were his choice, although at some point he bypassed the Twin's power amp, running the warmth of the Fender tube pre-amp signal straight into a MacIntosh power amp to allow for more overall stability of sound

the Gibson's Jerry played in the 60's had double coil low impedance Humbuckers, significantly stronger signal output creating a very thick and rich tone, as opposed to the single coil high impedance Strat pickups, which have more high frequency response, greater clarity at low volumes and a real scream at higher volumes, all the while sacrificing reduced signal output and increasing unwanted radio frequency interference

Tiger had a single coil neck pickup and double coil middle and bridge pickups...i suspect that Jer chose the middle pickup more often than not in order to strike a balance in the stage mix between the relatively harsh tone of the bridge pickup and the less clear, softer sounding neck pickup...Gibson manufactured some 3 pickup models, but Jer never seemed to be on to them (?)

Irwin fashioned a metal buckplate around the pickups to enable the pickups to be swapped should Jerry change his mind (not the same thing, but seem to remember Mick Taylor playing a clear plastic Ampeg guitar that allowed him a variety of tone textures by sliding the pickup positions incrementally between the neck and bridge?)...eventually, the single coil neck pickup was indeed changed out to a double coil (not sure if it happened with Tiger, definitely with Rosebud)...could have been the sound Jerry was looking for or perhaps just to obtain a better balance of signal output when selecting between different pickups or mixing the pickups together...he also had mini switches on the guitars to re-configure the double coil pickups to single coil by grounding the center tap between the coils, but anyone who has experimented with this will tell you the response is nowhere near that of a Strat type single coil pickup

the pre-master volume control effects loop was incorporated to allow full pickup signal to the effects devices, something he recognized as imperative in order to supply the gain sensitive Mutron "envelope" filter with a steady signal at all desired volumes...the unity gain buffer is exactly that, a device that reduced power loss (line loss) in the longer patch cord system associated with the long effects loop (pickups to effects, back to guitar master volume control, then on to the pre-amp)...a switch on the guitar enabled the entire effects loop to be turned on and off without hitting the foot peddles (as well as allowed the entire loop to be preset at leisure while in the by-pass mode)...the tone controls were left pre-loop in order to allow subtle control over the Mutron's "gate" (threshold of "wa")

individual effects were turned on and off via foot peddles wired to a custom relay rack, which i suspect used relays similar or identical to low voltage light switching typical of building construction design(?)...this allowed access to the effect paramaters mounted on a rack, instead of having to reach down to the floor to adjust them

point being, the effects loop and unity gain buffer have nothing to do with the actual sound of his guitars, their only purpose was to allow the Mutron to respond the same throughout all master volume selections...the same is true to lessor extent for some of the other effect devices (namely distortion) but i somehow doubt Jer would have gone to all that trouble if it were not for the inherent problems associated with the input volume sensitive Mutron filter...he must have really liked the Mutron's ability to create a wa effect without having to be tied to a wa pedal!



getting back to the Bean, the aluminum neck (which i seem to remember ran down through the length of the body?) more than likely had some affect on the sound, although i'm not sure how significant it would be...more than likely produced more sustain... may have stayed better in tune compared to wooden type necks, not affected by humidity, although you would think it would be prone to significant expansion and contraction due to ambient temperature fluctuations(?)

in any case, most players claimed Beans to be far too heavy, contributing to pinched shoulder nerves and the like...as a result they never really did get past the novelty stage

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2009-04-07 23:16:58

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 7, 2009 3:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry and the Travis Bean

Whoaaa! Way to chime in, MS! Must be the first significant rays of spring sunshine brining out the best in you given your six months of darkness.

Always a pleasure.

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